food imports at alltime low
Last Updated : GMT 19:41:33
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As Yemen faces 'disaster'

Food imports at all-time low

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Food imports at all-time low

A Yemeni mother tends to her malnourished child
Sanaa - Arab Today

Commercial food imports are at a record low in crisis-hit Yemen as the country facing the world's largest food security crisis could also see a vital port shut down, aid groups said Wednesday.

International concern for the lives of tens of millions of Yemenis is rising amid fears of a military attack on Hodeida, a Red Sea port that is the main entry point for aid and imports.

Aid groups warned a solution to the Yemen conflict was the sole means to stem the spiralling humanitarian crisis.

A Saudi-led military coalition for two years has fought Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels who control a string of key ports including Hodeida.

More than 7,700 people have since been killed and around three million displaced, according to the United Nations.

The United Nations has warned 17 million Yemenis -- 62 percent of the population -- are unable to access food. A third of the country's provinces are on the brink of famine.

The non-governmental Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said commercial food imports were at an "all-time low, driving the price of basic commodities to rise on average by a third".

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) also warned that closure of the Hodeida port would "bring disaster to Yemen".

NRC secretary general Jan Egeland called the situation in Yemen "a gigantic failure of international diplomacy".

"Nowhere on earth are as many lives at risk," said Egeland at a news conference in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

"We are not even sure that the main humanitarian lifeline through the port of Hodeida will be kept open," said Egeland.

"This makes Yemen the largest food security crisis in the world."

The NRC chief appealed to "men with guns and power" in Yemen and around the world to broker a ceasefire and return to the negotiating table to find a solution to the war.

Rights groups fear the Saudi-led coalition is planning to attack Hodeida, which would likely destroy the port and cut supplies to millions of hungry civilians.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition has denied the alliance plans to launch an offensive on Hodeida.

WFP chief David Beasley on Wednesday warned closure of Hodeida would spell "disaster" for Yemen.

"Ninety percent of the imports into Yemen come in through the port of Hodeida. Something like 80 percent of all the World Food Programme food comes through that port," Beasley told AFP.

"We're on the brink of famine in Yemen, and every day that passes... that we do not have a political solution is another day closer to famine."

Source: AFP

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